MSU Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics
The first essay examines the effect of hazardous waste sites on residential property values in Lansing, Michigan. A hedonic price function is estimated and interpreted to suggest that increased exposure to hazards is negatively capitalized into housing prices. Thus, the benefit of clean-up is estimated to be positive. However, increased proximity to areas of high industrial activity is also found to be negatively capitalized into housing prices. Failure to account for areas of high industrial activity is shown to overstate the effect of hazardous waste sites on property values, which, in turn inflates benefit estimates associated with hazardous waste clean-up.
The second essay examines factors that motivate public support for farmland preservation. The influence that farmland attributes have on public support for farmland preservation is examined with data collected from a door-to-door survey conducted in Kent County, Michigan. Residents were provided with a hypothetical referendum scenario designed to elicit a vote for or against a proposal to support a County initiative to preserve farmland. The household cost of the program and the farmland attributes were varied by the survey design. The survey results are interpreted to suggest that respondents are more likely to support a farmland preservation initiative if it is designed to preserve farmland located in an area of the County referred to as the Fruit Ridge. Variations in described levels of agricultural productivity or environmental quality, did not significantly influence the likelihood that respondents would support farmland preservation.